Life Domain Cleric built 5e Guide: get the most out of this DND subclass

So, you want to start a new campaign and are looking for a unique build. A life domain Cleric built is one of the most fun, underused support subclasses in DnD 5e. Fighting with this powerful and strongly armored healer is a blast both as the player and teammate. I love playing with one on a casual campaign against strong enemies and experienced fellow players. 

Our expert Dungeon Master will tell you everything there is to know about making the perfect Life Domain Cleric built-in 5e Dungeons and Dragons.

What is a Life Domain Cleric in 5e DnD exactly? 

As a cleric, you have devoted your being to serving the gods of goodness and care. Your goals in Life are to heal and take care of the living. In essence, a life domain cleric focuses their efforts on restoring the hitpoints of their allies and giving them buffs to handle and deal damage. 

Even more so than the average Cleric, one who focuses on Life Domain is focused on the preservation and restoration of Life. Therefore, wisdom is critical when building your Life Domain Cleric. This stat is the most important one of all. Maximizing this one is essential to making this subclass as robust as possible. 

While maximizing your wisdom score is essential if you try to build a Life Domain Cleric, you need to choose your second and third ability scores too. 

Life domain cleric

Background

There are quite a few possible backgrounds that make sense as a Life Domain Cleric. Which one you pick is entirely up to you. The most common pick that people make is the Acolyte background. That means that your character has been trained as a priest since an early age and has dedicated his Life to faith.

Another excellent pick is a mercenary, pirate, or soldier background. You have seen many battles and many of your friends and allies dying, so you decided to make sure that you can do something next time one of your friends seems to be badly injured and on the brink of death.

Finally, maybe your Life has been saved by a cleric, and now you want to help their order by spreading the word and performing healing magic. 

Whatever your background as a life domain cleric is, make it something that makes at least a bit of sense for role-playing purposes. 

Best race for a life Domain Cleric

1. Hill Dwarf

The quintessential race for the ClericCleric is the Hill dwarf. The best class for a dwarf is the ClericCleric, which also goes for the Life Domain Cleric. Thanks to the +1 wisdom score and the +2 in the constitution, you get an influential cleric built who can use powerful spells and survive being in close combat for a while.

Thanks to the fact that you also have Dwarven Toughness, you get a hit point increase by one, and your hit points increase by one every time you level up. This helps you with spells like Life Transference and surviving hits when you need to get close to your enemies. 

From a role-playing perspective, they are playing as a Dwarven life domain cleric is a ton of fun. There is plenty of lore to be explored, and the built is not underpowered, even in challenging adventures. 

Life domain cleric guide 5e dnd

2. Human

There is no race as versatile as humans. Thanks to the fact that you have plenty of choice in how to distribute the stats and the feats you have access to, you can make a pretty powerful Life Domain Cleric in 5e DnD.

As a regular human, you get a bonus in every ability score. So that is nice, but you can also pick a Variant Human. This human subclass can add +1 to an ability of your choice. So you can add that to your WIS and build an influential cleric. 

Make sure you pick an excellent feat to help you get the most out of your healing potential, and you will be set. 

3. Wood-Elf

If you want to use an elf and play as a cleric, then the wood elf is the way to go. These get a nice boost to their wisdom stats and have a couple of interesting racial treats to help you survive encounters with enemies. One of these is the Mask of the Wild; this enables you to escape and hide when you take too much damage trying to heal your allies on the front lines. 

Check out the Wood Elf 5e Guide to get the most out of this race when you pick an elf for your ClericCleric. 

Best life domain cleric spells and cantrips

Cantrips and low-level spells

As a life domain cleric, you can pick three cantrips, and thanks to your +1 WIS modifier, you can also prepare some level 1 spells. If your Wisdom modifier is +2 or +3, if you chose your race strategic enough, you can pick up Guidance, and Sacred Flame are the two best cantrips you can pick. 

Guidance is the essential cantrip if you are playing as a Life Domain Cleric. The Sacred Flame spell is optional but is very useful to have a bit that deals damage. You can choose from a couple of spells at the first level. I Would advise you to pick the following ones.

  • Bane: A defensive spell
  • Healing word: support and essential as a Life Cleric. 
  • Inflict wounds: Another offensive spell that can help you out supporting your party to deal damage
  • Protection from Evil and Good: this is quite a fun spell to have. However, the utility depends on what type of monsters your DM will send to you. 

Higher-level spells

If you have the basics down, this class is a lot of fun. When you gain levels, you get access to many more niche spells and magic that are extremely powerful to heal your party quickly. While you should mainly pick spells that are focused on support and healing, in particular, you shouldn’t forget to choose a spell to deal damage once in a while. Your melee attacks will be negligible at the higher levels, so do not rely on them. 

If you plan to take risks and heal your allies close to were actual combat is happening, you should ensure you have enough AC and DEX to make the saving throws. You should also consider the Heavy Armor Master feat to improve your survivability. If you are picking a lot of CON spells, make sure you have the War Caster feat. However, if you restrict yourself to a predominantly supporting role, staying away from combat, you should look at other traits. 

Note: stating the obvious, but make sure you pick the Blessed Healer trait at level 6. 

dnd life domain cleric

Life Domain Cleric 5e gods

There are many gods you can pick from as a Life Domain Cleric. Here are some of the most important ones you might want to consider. We are not going to go in-depth about every God. So pick one and do your research before committing. 

  • llmater, God of endurance (LG), Life
  • Lathander, God of dawn and renewal (NG), Life/Light
  • Lliira, goddess of joy (CG), Life
  • Selûne, goddess of the moon (CG), Knowledge/Life
  • Sune, goddess of love and beauty (CG), Life/Light
  • Cyrrollalee, goddess of hearth and home (LG), Life
  • Yondalla, goddess of fertility and protection (LG), Life
  • Angharad, the triple goddess of wisdom and protection (CG), Knowledge/Life
  • Hanalei Celanil, goddess of love and beauty (CG), Life

Pros and Cons of Life domain clerics

Pro’s

  • Other players will love you. Being in a supporting role means others can get the glory while you can make yourself popular by saving their skin over and over again.
  • Role-playing is a ton of fun. Since you are such a great healer in a medieval world, people worship you. Disease and injury are everywhere, and you can save lives with a finger flick.
  • Great to buff and balanced teams. Every team needs a healer. If you are a veteran playing with beginners, playing as a Life Domain Cleric is perfect for teaching them the ropes and avoiding having them die on you, 2 fights in the campaign. 

Cons

  • Forget about being the MVP in combat. A life domain cleric is about adding hit points, not subtracting them. You only have a few attacks that can deal decent damage.
  • Have to stick to the plan; it’s easy to lose sight of things and get bored because you will always have to take the supporting role. A lot of players start to add damaging spells, but end up regretting it later. 

Final tips and advice 

A Life Domain Cleric in 5e is a very powerful built. While you won’t kill enemies, you will have the tools to make your party survive long and hard fights. Having one of these at the party is also a great idea if you are playing with beginners. Finally, having a dedicated healer is perfect for saving noobs who overestimate their abilities.

While this is not built for beginners or those who want to deal a ton of damage, it is fun once you get to the higher levels and heal a ton of HP immediately. 

Make sure you check out the following guides if you want to know more about 5e DND:

Life Domain Cleric FAQ

Can a life domain cleric use spirit guardians?

Yes, they can use spirit guardians. You can also use a spectral guardian, like the guardian of faith. However, picking a spell-like is not optimal for the built, and it is better to find a healing spell for that spell slot or a spell that increases your armor if you are going to fight on the front lines. 

Which gods do the life domain clerics worship?

As a life domain cleric, you mainly worship gods related to the circle of Life, harvest, and – of course – healing. In our opinion, the top three gods to worship are 1. llmater, God of endurance (LG), Life; 2. Lathander, God of dawn and renewal (NG), Life/Light and, 3. Lliira, goddess of joy (CG), Life. However, there are many more gods you can consider for your character. 

What cantrips should I pick as a Life Domain Cleric?

Besides the apparent pick of cantrips that can heal, there are two cantrips you should consider picking for your Life Domain Cleric. Guidance is a great support skill that helps your team succeed in ability checks, preventing them from taking damage and helping them deal more. Another decent cantrip to consider is Sacred Flames. This cantrip is excellent to has a spell that deals a decent amount of damage from a distance. 

Leave a Comment